Artnextdoor's Blog

My place to be creative

To wash or not to wash that is the question


Do you wash your fabrics prior to using them in patchwork/quilting projects?

I didn’t.  Then someone told me I should, I didn’t know why, that wasn’t explained to me.  Now I know but do I bother to wash before I use the fabric – no, it’s too much hassle, I have never had a fabric bleed colour on me yet, nor have I have a shrinkage problem.  I suppose there’s is always a first time but I’m happy to take that risk, are you?   Please let me know your thoughts on to wash or not to wash.

6 thoughts on “To wash or not to wash that is the question

  1. The sizing in the fabric is hard on your machine needles and it can release a fiber dust that deposits in your machine. Starched fabrics the same way. Also if you have a bed quilt with unwashed fabrics it can cause allergy problems. In this day and age of staph and other germs I just wash to be sure it is safe to use. Who knows who has handled it before you did.

    • I wash my quilts after completion for that crinkle, shrink effect which I love. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

  2. I always wash – in a delicates bag, with the family laundry in my front-loader. I use normal washing detergent, no fabric softener, just because I’ve never really understood what fabric softener actually does. I even pre-wash jelly rolls. I throw in a colour catcher if I think the fabric might run. I’d rather get any shrinkage or colour runs out of the way before I start work on my quilt.

    • I stopped washing my fabrics a long time ago. I finish my quilts then wash them waiting for the ‘shrink’ that sometimes happens, I love the wrinkled cuddle quality that shrinkage gives my quilts. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

  3. I no longer prewash my fabrics. I have had one bleeding incident, over 30 years, and replaced the unruly fabric pieces, by hand, not a biggie. Now, I *always* use those washer sheets for containing excess dye? Shout makes one version. Heck, I use them for almost every load of laundry I do. You will be surprised at how much dye leakage you get with even *old* clothes!
    As for shrinking, I buy quality fabrics that all tend to shrink about the same. I love the worn crinkly look a quilt gets after it’s first washing. That’s what I live for ; )
    That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!

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